Best Practices from Oracle Development's A‑Team

Import GNS3 VM on OCI

Catalin Andrei
Cloud Networking Solutions Architect

The following article is intended for network enthusiasts that want to use OCI to create a network lab. The setup that I will demonstrate has no value in production environments.This article is part of a series of 3 blogs on GNS3. I will start from importing thre GNS3 software to OCI, connect to it from a laptop, upload a network appliance firmware an connect it to the internet.

I remember my early networking days when I was studying for CCNP and I had no access to a full lab of Cisco routers to test what I was learning. I discovered Dynamips (an emulation software for the Cisco 7200 routers) and at that time it was a challenge to successfully get a router to boot. Later Dynagen was created (an orchestrator for Dynamips) and the configuration of Dynamips was simplified.

Returning to present days, things evolved into GNS3, a software that also uses Dynamips for the emulation of legacy IOS and for more modern devices it uses qemu, a hardware emulation software.

Now, the enterprises do not have dedicated networking personnel in their cloud departments, and the connectivity from on-premise to the Cloud it not always straight-forward for an engineer without networking background. For these situations, a network lab is useful.

I wanted to help those engineers by writing this blog on how to create a networking lab into OCI. I am using OCI, because most of the time, a laptop for daily usage doesn't have enough hardware resources to run a full lab in GNS3. The GNS3 VM will run the virtualization of the device's firmware, and it will be located in the cloud and the local laptop will be a front-end to control the virtualization.

This article will not focus on getting the device's firmware in order for the GNS3 to use it.

First, we download the GNS3 VM. from  (https://www.gns3.com/software/download-vm) and download the VM for VMWARE Workstation:

The downloaded file is a zip archive that contains a .ova.

If you unpack the ova you will find the disks needed for the VM to run.

Login to OCI account and create an Object Storage Bucket:

In this bucket, upload the two disks from the .ova file. Once the upload finish, copy the URL Path to the uploaded file:

Create a custom image by navigating to Compute > Custom Images and Import Image. Do the same for the second disk.

At this point, you will create two images for the VM's disks by using the Object Storage files that were uploaded earlier.

Create a VM from the custom image gns3.2.3.disk1.

Create an instance from the disk 2 image.

Wait until the Instance is created and terminate it without deleting the boot volume. This boot volume will be used as a secondary disk for the GNS3 VM.

Wait until the termination is done and navigate to the first VM and attach the block volume created from the second GNS3 disk.

Wait until the attachment is done:

Reboot the Instance. During the reboot, the new boot volume will be mounted.

Connect with ssh to the instance. The following screen will be displayed:


At this point, we have the VM ready. In the next article I will connect to this VM and upload a firmware for a network appliance.

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